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Why Do Babies Sleep With Their Butt In The Air?

New mothers are always fussy over their little ones. They want to ensure they give them the best meals, the best clothes, the best environment for play and the best love.

You will see many questions on parenting forums about practically every baby topic. When it comes to sleep, parents usually have a difficult time positioning their baby to sleep right and safely.

In most cases, the baby will just find a comfortable position to sleep and this is why you will find many babies commonly sleeping with their butt in the air. Why is that? Keep reading to find out!

The Safest Sleep Position

The safest sleep position for the baby is when they lie on their back. This is also known as the supine position and considered very safe and actually reduced the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

When laying down your baby to sleep, it is important to always put them on their back to sleep and not on their front side unless advised by a doctor. According to medical experts around the world, babies sleeping on their front or side increases the chance of SIDS happening. 

Sleeping on their front is only safe after the baby’s first birthday, according to pediatricians. This is because they are at this point strong enough to roll back to safety if they need to. 

Check: Sleeping in Mamaroo? (Is It Safe?)

How Babies Find Their Own Sleep Position?

The moment babies can move themselves from their back to their front and back again, they can always find their own comfortable sleeping position. You will notice that they will roll on their tummy and with their butt in the air.

The first few times you might be worried and actually gently turn them to sleep on their back. 

You can let them lie on their tummy until they fall asleep. Do not turn them on their back when they are still awake lest they protest and give you a hard time falling asleep again. However, make sure you are around them when they are sleeping on their tummy or with their butt in the air.

Why Babies Sleep With Their Butt in the Air?

There are various reasons why this could happen such as the following:  

 They find it comfortable 

Babies sleep in this position because they find it very comfortable.

Naturally when you are sleepy and find a comfortable position, then you are more likely to have quality sleep compared to when you sleep in an uncomfortable position.

The same applies to babies, they might actually be playing when you suddenly notice that they are fast asleep in this position. It is the easiest for them to settle down in and sleep peacefully. 

 Replicating the fetal position 

Babies could also be sleeping in this position because it is also the easiest way for them to replicate the fetal position. Why they need to replicate this position is not clear.

However, it is very clear that taking this position while sleeping on the side takes a lot of muscle effort.

On the other hand, getting into this position with the arms and legs tucked and bum in the air is relaxing and it lets gravity do the job of ensuring no unnecessary effort is applied and that baby is comfortable.

The fetal position in the uterus was comfortable and comforting to them and this means some part of their brain still remembers the pre-birth period perhaps. 

Relieves stomach aches 

Lying in this position for a baby has been known to put pressure on the abdomen and relieve stomach aches.

When they are in this position, they are also able to pass gas freely. For some babies, when they feel sleepy and lie in this position, a couple of big farts follow before they pass out fast asleep.

Feeling cold 

In some instances, the baby could be sleeping in this position because they are feeling cold.

You may realize that the moment you put a warm blanket on them, they stretch out and lie flat on their tummy or might even lie on their back with the blanket close to them to keep the cold out. 

Fall asleep while playing 

For many babies, after learning to sit up independently they sometimes play and fall asleep during play. When this happens, they just fall as sleep as they are without lying down.

They just flop forward and this often leads to the butt in the air position. Sometimes when they do this, they find the position quite comfortable and end up adopting this as their own sleep position until they outgrow it.

Extended tummy time 

Parents allow their babies lots of tummy time, this could be the reason why most of them love the bum up position for their sleep. Tummy time is always fun for most babies and since babies love fun things, they might always want to fall asleep while continuously doing fun things.  

So that is it, these airbone butts can now be explained. This makes them all the more adorable because there is nothing as cute as a baby asleep with their bum in the air, snoring away in their sweet dream world.

Common Myths About Why Babies Sleep With Their Butt in the Air

Like with many things there are myths surrounding this scenario and they are as follows: 

Sleeping  with butt up hampers walking 

Some people believe that when babies sleep in such a position for long it delays walking. Nothing could be further from the truth. Walking has nothing to do with the position baby sleeps in.

Some parents discourage this because they believe this myth. The truth could be that this could be the best sleep position ever for the baby because it is so comfortable.

Sleeping with butt up causes bowlegs 

This myth is definitely an old wives’ tale that should not be believed. Bowleggedness has nothing to do with sleep position but is caused by other factors.

Sleep position as any pediatrician will tell you, will never cause bowlegs and definitely not this sleep position.  Let your baby sleep this way, if they like it, it might actually make them less fussy during sleep time. 

Sleeping  with butt up is a sign of the baby’s fear 

Signs of fear in a baby are obvious but sleeping butt up is definitely not one of them. There is a difference between curving yourself up as a little ball in fear and sleeping butt up.

Sleeping butt up is just your baby being a baby and nothing more. You don’t need to be worried about anything because sleeping in this position has nothing to do with butt up sleep.  

Sleeping butt up hinders blood flow

This myth is probably as a result of a lack of knowledge. This sleep position might cause little cramps in the baby’s muscles but nothing more.

The cramps only happen when the baby is left in this position for too long. But there is no way it hinders blood flow. In fact, it helps blood circulate in the brain and gives the baby a relaxed feel which is why they feel so comfortable.  

Never Believe the Myths 

Myths when it comes to baby matters are many. People claim all sorts of things when it comes to babies and most of them are not true. It is only wise to always trust your pediatrician and the advice they give you about baby whether it concerns sleep positions, feeding habits, play or any medical symptoms.  

Babies love sleeping with their butt in the air and as you have seen the real reasons why this shouldn’t be a cause for alarm. Let your baby sleep with their butt in the air if they want to. At some point, they will outgrow it and if they don’t then it means the baby will become naturally a tummy sleeping person. This is not such a bad thing.   

Monica Lawrence

I’m Monica, a single mother who’s raising two beautiful angels. Here, I share helpful and creative articles and how-to’s for all the busy, multitasking moms.